3 suspended amid Missouri school rape allegations

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Months after vowing to boost security at a Kansas City school where a student says she was dragged to a room and raped, district officials have suspended three employees amid new allegations from a 14-year-old girl who alleges a boy repeatedly raped her at school.

The girl in the latest case, who the police report describes as autistic, told authorities the 14-year-old boy raped her "on numerous occasions" over the last month at Southwest Early College Campus while a 13-year-old girl stood in the hall as a lookout. Both the boy and alleged lookout were taken into custody Wednesday and turned over to family court.

The school district began its own investigation after learning of the new allegations Wednesday. Kansas City Public Schools Superintendent R. Stephen Green said in a statement released Thursday the district has placed "a number" of school employees on administrative leave and that other personnel could be put on leave depending on the outcome of the district's probe.

"Once the investigation is complete, a final decision will be made about whether they will continue as employees of KCPS or will be dismissed," Green said in his statement.

District spokesman Ray Weikal said Friday that three employees were placed on leave. He said the district would not identify the suspended employees or their positions at the school, an older single-building campus in a middle-class neighborhood on the city's south side. More than half of the roughly 600 middle and high school students there are in college prep courses.

The girl making the latest allegations said she was raped about the same time of day and out of view of security cameras, according to the police report. Her mother told police the girl is autistic and "does not always fully comprehend and communicate the same as other children of the same age," the report said.

"If the victim refused, (the male suspect) would punch her in the chest and arms until the victim would comply," the report said.

In the earlier incident, two boys, ages 14 and 15, were charged as juveniles after a 17-year-old girl told police she was dragged through a doorway and up a flight of stairs to a room where she was raped.

The district responded by improving security measures at the school, including starting weekly safety reviews, upgrading the security camera system, reviewing doors and locks, restricting access to isolated building areas and reinforcing adult supervision of students when they are not in classes.

Security measures were in place during the time period when the latest incident would have occurred, Weikal said. He said Superintendent Green thought he had "staff lined up ... to make sure an incident like that wouldn't happen again."

"That clearly turned out not to be the case," Weikal said. "What I can tell you is that this is by and large a personnel issue. ... There was a failure on a personnel level."

"This is not going to be a case where people get slapped on the wrist because they have protection," he added later. "We're not going to let that happen."

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